The Search for the Active Site on Catalysts
Heterogeneous catalysis is a centrally-important component (about 20 %) of the GDP of the modern world. Catalysis at active surfaces gives us the only technology to make needed organic chemicals and synthetic materials from petroleum and to produce pollution control in automotive exhaust systems. This article probes the development of our understanding at the atomic level of the active site for inducing chemistry at catalyst surfaces. The history covered extends from 1925 to the present, and includes past and recent work done at the University of Virginia.